SaaS – A “Disruptive Technology” and more (part 2 of 2)

In part 1 of this post we analyzed SaaS as a “disruptive innovation” and what that may entail in terms of value to clients and SaaS providers.

Although SaaS is a well-understood model today, there are differences on how SaaS providers define SaaS (or their preferred flavor of SaaS). A number of leading SaaS vendors have claimed multi-tenancy as a necessary component of any SaaS offering. There is a fair amount of controversy here, but is multi-tenancy what defines SaaS?

As a quick backgrounder, multi-tenancy refers to a software architecture where a single instance of the software runs on a server, serving multiple tenants, where tenants are separate companies, or in a broader sense, any application – either inside or outside the enterprise – that needs its own secure and exclusive virtual computing environment. So how does multi-tenancy come to play?